Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer - a book review

Quote of the day:

"If you only read the books everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."
                                                             ~ Maruki Murakami

Today's featured book:

Author:  Ali Maier
Ages:  8-12

What's inside?

The book:

Max and Maggie, ten year old twins, find out to their surprise that they are required to write a summer journal on their time off.... and together!  What?  You've got to be kidding!  

Mom has laid out an extensive plan to have both the kids record 12 entries in that journal by summer's end.  At first there is resistance but as the journey of the journal unfolds and the twins navigate the daily trials of their childhood and their differences of opinions on almost everything, they begin to see the value of the lesson mom is trying to teach them.  Through their symbiotic writing they gain a better understanding, and yes, even appreciation of not only who they are as a person but who the other sibling is as well.  

The book is written in a free-style, journalistic format full of funny interjections and fun, humorous, kid-friendly pics.  I know kids (and parents) will love this book and who knows?  Maybe next summer your own kids will take up the pen and travel through personal diary pages until the school bell sounds and requires them to trade in their homespun journal for teacher-taught, creative writing classes and the dreaded.....homework assignments! When school does beckon them back you can rest assured that their writings skills will be greatly improved because of their summer writing experiences.  I highly recommend this book. 

For more info and ideas concerning this book check out the author's website at:  http://

An interview with the author:

The Bookie Monster Interviews Ali Maier, author of Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer.
Ali Maier was born in Johnstown, PA. In high school she spent a lot of time with children, working as a summer camp counselor for many years, volunteering to teach Sunday school at church, working in the local day-care center, and working as a kindergarten aide.
She went to John Carroll University and earned a BA in Elementary Education. Throughout college, Ali worked at a local toy store then worked in product development at a company making art and craft kits for kids.
Eventually Ali left her job to work full time with her husband, Mark, at their marketing company. When her children were born, she worked from home.
Ali lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and two children. She loves to read, write and spend time with her family.
Ali chose to write the Mom Made Us Write This series to encourage young readers to do something she loves – to read! Ali wanted to write a book series that would allow readers to laugh and encourage them to write and share their own stories.

I love kids and everything kid-related – so writing for kids just made sense to me! My degree is in elementary education and I have always been a huge advocate for reading and writing. As a mom, I always encouraged my kids to read and write, especially when they disagreed. My kids get along pretty well, but inevitably, they often had the same he-said, she-said arguments I used to have with my sister when we were growing up. My book’s characters, Maggie and Max, are 10 year old twins whose mom makes them share a journal. Sometimes the agree, sometimes they don’t, just like in real families. The journal-style of the book is a great way to see how two kids can have very a different point of view of the same events. I originally created the characters of Maggie and Max to entertain my kids, and to try to help them understand each other’s point of view. I wanted to show my kids that it is ok to disagree, but there is a way to communicate your differences without arguing, and I think Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer encourages that. 
Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is available for sale on Amazon: The series also includes Mom Made Us Write This: Write Your Own Shared Journal and Mom Made Us Write This Family Quiz Book.

Yes, the characters in my book are loosely based on the antics of my children and our family, but I definitely embellished a little along the way!

My family is very much like the Pruitts in the book - I am the former teacher, who is always pushing everyone to read and write, my husband is the “fun” parent who eats too much ice cream, and my kids are very much like the characters Maggie and Max. Some things are made up- like the hippo “toot” ( I got that idea for a you tube video that made my son laugh for about an hour) but some things are based on our real life – We do actually have an ice-cream day every year like the Pruitts!

Yes! I have definitely felt like I have run out of ideas before. The best way for me to get inspired is by spending time with kids. I love visiting schools and talking to students. They always have stories to tell me about their families and siblings. I love hearing their funny adventures – they absolutely inspire me! The beauty of writing a book about a fun family, like the one in Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer, is that kids and parents absolutely relate to the characters and their stories, and it always sparks memories and ideas for new adventures for Maggie and Max!!!

Book Review Rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

New books to watch for by the author:

Read on and read always! Have an amazing day.

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